This month, we continue to explore what makes the Museum of Visual Materials a LEED Platinum Certified Green Building as we look at the Main Hall.
The Main Hall is our most used and most popular area. Structure renovation was the most important element in completing this room. Large beams needed support along with bringing back the original stone work.
Original Floors – The floors from the original structure were restored and brought back to life. Of course, a floor over 100 years old would need some work. The flooring does have some patch work completed to create a safe environment where old service elevators and staircases once provided access to the basement. By using the original wood floors, we didn't’t have to create deforestation to provide floor covering.
Sandblasting – Many areas of the building were painted white, including the stone and wood pillars and beams. In order to restore the original look and texture, the building was sandblasted.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling – Our system is located in the basement below the Main Hall. We heat and cool our facility with the water vein hundreds of feet below the ground. The average temperature of the water pulled from the earth is 56 degrees. The system acts in the opposite of an air conditioner when heating the facility. It rejects the cold water and creates a reaction of heat. The coolness of the water provides the cold air which is transferred into the building during the summer. In addition to the geothermal unit, our air filtration system keeps out small, breathable particles such as dust, dirt, pollen and allergens, bacteria and viruses, odors and chemical vapors.
LED Gallery Lighting – With natural lighting during the day from the sky lights and windows, at night the Museum is lit up with low wattage LED gallery lighting. The lighting difference between the original 35-watt halogen based bulb and the LED bulbs provides an energy savings of almost 2,000%.
Fire Doors – Old restored fire doors are on display in the Main Hall. These doors became very popular after the Chicago fire in the early 1800’s, when almost the entire city burned to the ground. These large doors are attached to a rope and weight system so if a fire started in the building, the rope would burn releasing the weight and letting the door close shut to prevent the spreading of fire to the rest of the city.
Skylights – The three large skylights and large high efficient windows provide ample sunlight to help us cut down on electricity costs.
Pillars – The large pillars which support our trusses in our building were brought here from within a 400 mile radius. These pillars where saved from a church in Minnesota that was being demolished.
Cork Flooring – The LEGO and Reading Corner flooring is made of an exotic looking flooring called cork. Cork is a fast renewable resource which is harvested about every nine years. Cork is great for bathrooms and especially kitchens. Not only is it durable against water but if you drop a pot or pan, the shock will be absorbed by the floor. It is very comfortable on your back if you are standing for long periods of time. Cork also stays warm in the winter time and cool in the summer to help with energy savings. Cork was very popular in the days of Thomas Jefferson.
Birch Book Shelves – Birch book shelves provide a strong structure to house our books and displays. This product is a hard fast growing wood and naturally beautiful.
Soy-based Insulation – Behind certain walls is soy bean insulation, which is resistant to mold and mildew. Soy-based insulation provides a great barrier from the outside elements. This sprayed in product expands sealing cracks and gaps more efficiently than fiber insulation. Spray insulation contains a very high “R” value, which is the rating system for insulation efficiency.
Low VOC Paint – The paint used to add color to these walls is a low VOC paint. This reduces the harmful chemical given off by most of your other paints.